Seaside Dinner

Seaside Dinner

Well, it’s over.  At least for Andi, Tanner and I.

And compared to how it all started on December 31st of 2011 with our grand entrance, our exodus form the island (which is taking place in stages), is feeling a bit anticlimactic.

But let’s not dwell on that!  I just enjoyed a fantastic eight days on the island with the girls, and I want to focus on that instead.

On Sunday, June 16th, I flew down to St. Martin for what would be my last and final trip to the island (at least as a semi-resident).  Andi had finished school at Learning Unlimited and was ready to come back home, but she didn’t want to fly internationally alone.  She’d done that once already for a medical trips, and did NOT want to do it again.  I don’t blame her.

I was there for 8 days, and to maximize the time with the girls, I took vacation days from work so we could play, relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Tanner opted out of this trip. In his own words, “I’m done with the island.”  Plus, it was right smack in the middle of little league season, and he would have missed six games had he come with.  MANY thanks to the Anderson’s, the Beard’s and Coach Todd for all the help while I was gone.

The trip was a splendid success in every way possible way.  But instead of boring you with lots of talk, I’ll let the photos do most of the sharing. Read the rest of this entry »

Carina, holding Piper, volunteering at the tie-die event with at-risk kids.

Yesterday I received the following Facebook message from my sister, Rebecca:  “I’m trying to figure out where you live right now.  Did you get a job that lets you live in St Martin’s? Or are you just visiting? What are school plans for Cari? And how is Andi doing? I guess I’m hoping for an all-around update on life.”

And Rebecca isn’t the only one who has asked us the same thing, so I figured I’d set the record straight.

Yes, I have a fantastic job (with great people) that is 100% remote, meaning I can literally work from anyplace that has a solid and reliable internet connection. I’ve had this job since the end of October, 2012.  So, the obvious question is: Why have Tanner and I not been on the island since I’ve had this job?   Read the rest of this entry »

The ‘Welcome to St. Maartin” sign by which tourists love to take their photos.

It’s good to be back!

Hey, I’ll be honest… I wasn’t at all sad to leave winter behind and come down here with Tanner to spend two months in the Caribbean with the girls!

In the months that I’ve been away, I’ve fielded a lot of comments and questions from people back at home about the island.  As a result it made me realize that I’ve not done a very good job of documenting in this blog what the island of St. Martin is really like.  I vowed that as soon as I got back here, I would take some time to drive around and photograph the inside of the island, away from the beautiful beaches, to show the parts of the island that you’ll never see on postcards and tourist brochures. Read the rest of this entry »

Grandma, Grandpa, Andi, Piper and Tanner down on the beach below our condo

Well, tomorrow morning life is going to change dramatically. Again.  Cari goes back to school, and I go back to work.

For Cari, it’s been a fantastic, relaxing, rejuvenating and much needed three week break. For me, it’s been a… (searching for just the right words…) a … an unexpected  but inspired four month weekend.

Just today I got word that tomorrow I will start a short-term contract for a company in Minneapolis to code a new web-based application for them. It’s not a long term gig, but it’s work. And I’m grateful.  On one hand I never thought it would take this long to find a company that would let me work entirely from a remote location, but on the other hand, not working the first semester of Cari’s schooling is exactly what our family needed while we all settled in to this strange new land.

But more on this later.  Right now I want to focus on my Mom & Dad’s visit and on Cari’s break. Happily, my parents were able to arrange there visit to coincide with Cari’s freedom so we could all spend time together.  And we had so much fun!  I’m not even sure where to begin, so, let’s start with Cari’s birthday. Read the rest of this entry »

Carina getting out and enjoying the shops on Front Street with family and friends

Block weekends are no fun, for anyone.  “Blocks” are just a nice way of saying “killer exams”, and all of Cari’s classes have them on the same Monday, four times a semester.  For most of the week leading up to blocks we don’t see much of her. And the weekend before, we don’t see her at all, unless she’s asleep in bed.  Okay, she still comes to church with us, but other that those three hours, she is held up on campus with her nose buried in text books, flash cards, notes and anatomy videos.  For 14 hours a day.

On Block Monday she gets up extra early and gets in a last few hours of review before she spends pretty much the entire day taking exams.  When she comes home she is finally able to relax a little, but she’s on pins-and-needles until she is able to get online later that evening and see her results.

On those Monday evenings we’ve usually made it a point to do something fun, like go out to a movie and dinner.  But the real fun comes on the weekend after blocks.   That’s when we kidnap Cari for an entire Saturday and bring her to places on the island we’ve been enjoying all along,  but which she hardly ever gets to see. Read the rest of this entry »

In another week we will have been on the island for 3 months. Time is going both fast and slow, if that makes sense.  And while we still miss so much about St. Cloud, we are finally starting to feel as if this new life is settling down.  We’re learning the island, developing routines, and meeting new people.  There are still the occasional tears over missed friends, and while I’d stop short of saying that we feel like this is “home” we are at least headed in that direction.

Home School

Andi and Tanner enjoying an apple sauce while taking a study break.

Where to begin…

I am learning so much about Andi and Tanner that I never knew before, and I’m also beginning to grasp the holes that exist in public education.  If I could go back in time, I would involve myself to a much greater level with their schooling and homework.

I’m not implying they are deficient, but I am saying they both have strengths and weaknesses I didn’t know about.  With more careful scrutiny and one-on-one attention, I think their strengths could be more developed and their weaknesses less pronounced.  Out of fairness to them I won’t go into details, other than to say I hope this home schooling stint will help in both areas. Read the rest of this entry »

To all our good friends who have offered to send us a care package full of favorite treats: THANK YOU! We appreciate the offer. We really do. It makes us feel loved, and it means a ton to us.

When given such an offer, however, our reply has always been the same: We glad you’re thinking about us, but we’re okay.

Just about anything we might want to buy is already for sale on the island, and to help illustrate, I thought I’d include a few pics of one of the bigger grocery stores, Grand Marché.

    Read the rest of this entry »

Cari and Piper enjoying the sites and sounds of the beach.

Last Saturday, the 18th of February, we were planning an entire day outing to the Marigot Market in the morning and then back to Guana Beach in the afternoon.  Matt and Cecily Lew instigated the outing, and at first Cari was planning to sit this one out to study (again) but the rest of the family would have absolutely none of that.  Saturday marked eight weeks since we’d been on the island, and she had yet to ever see anything past the walk from our condo to the school.  We literally dragged her away from her books and kidnapped her into our outing.

We’re happy to report that at the end of the day, she declared she was thrilled to have come with us and delighted that we talked her into it! I’ll let the photographs do most the talking. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Crookstons

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